English 141 - Fall, 2014

Topics in Diasporic Literatures and Migration

Class Information

Instructor: Roy, Parama
Time: MWF 12:10-1:00
Location: 207 Olson

Description

    ENL 141: Topics in Diasporic Literatures and Migration
    Oceans, Empires, and Postcolonial Narrative

    “Across an era spanning from Columbus and Vasco da Gama to the twentieth century,” says Margaret Cohen, “the maritime world was a frontier of capitalism and colonial expansion” (“Literary Studies on the Terraqueous Globe”). Goods, people, languages, ideas, and technologies moved across the oceans; at the same time the maritime theater was a zone of conflict, competition, and cross-cultural contact. As scholars of oceanic and maritime studies have begun to suggest, the seas were crucial for an understanding of imperial contests, exploration, slavery, indenture, migration, cosmopolitanism, lost worlds and utopias, trade, credit networks and financial speculation, labor, piracy, ecological transformation, and storytelling; a focus on landlocked continental and national geographies alone tends to scant the complexity of these phenomena. This course will explore representations of oceans (particularly the Atlantic and Indian oceans), seas, ships, islands, archipelagos, and coastal spaces in imperial and postcolonial literatures to see how they might help us think about (or rethink) regions and empires. Texts include Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Life of Olaudah Equiano; Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim; Caryl Phillips, Crossing the River; Amitav Ghosh, In An Antique Land; Derek Walcott, “The Sea is History”; Edwidge Danticat, “Children of the Sea”; and essays by Edouard Glissant, Paul Gilroy, Elizabeth DeLoughrey, Margaret Cohen, Ian Baucom, Sumathi Ramaswamy, and Isabel Hofmeyr.

Grading

    Attendance and participation, including posts to weekly SmartSite forums; take-home exam; 8-10 page paper; final exam.

Texts

    The Interesting Life of Olaudah Equiano, ed. Angelo Costanzo, Olaudah Equiano
    Lord Jim, ed. Thomas C. Moser, Joseph Conrad
    Crossing the River, Caryl Phillips
    In An Antique Land, Amitav Ghosh
    The Interesting Life of Olaudah Equiano, ed. Angelo Costanzo, Olaudah Equiano
    Lord Jim, ed. Thomas C. Moser, Joseph Conrad
    Crossing the River, Caryl Phillips
    In An Antique Land, Amitav Ghosh